Right to Right Historical Wrongs, Anyone?

Up to 5,000 Syrians from Kobani amass at the border with Turkey on Friday evening, next to the Turkish village of Dikmetas. On this day was the beginning of the exodus when 200,000 Syrian's, mostly Kurds, crossed into Turkey in 72 hours.

May be Yuval Noah Harari, in his masterful and thoroughly enjoyable book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) is right to say that “there is no justice in history.” Nonetheless, history bears eloquent incontestable testimony of numerous instances of all manner of callous injustice meted out on entire races of people at the hands of European white masters so-called “explorers,” immigrant-settlers.

And that’s why the rise of intolerant, xenophobic and unempathetic conservative right-wing politics and policies on the seedbed ultra-right wing sentiment in Europe and elsewhere is worrying.

In this age of impregnable “fortress Europe” and African and Middle Eastern refugee crises, questionable travel bans, threatened deportation and border walls, let’s remind ourselves of how once Europe, in an age without a global referee, borders and walls, peopled the world; exploring, expanding and conquering at an unprecedented human cost.

So here is my honest personal reaction when an Ankara-based Kenyan diplomat shared with me a video clip of a retro, caveman and hateful anti-Turkey crybaby “whining” (it cannot be dignified by being referred to as a “speech” because this term implies a certain degree of reflection and reason) by the ultra-right wing Dutch politician and Member of Parliament, Geert Wilders.

“Dear XYZ, it comes as no surprise that these amnesia-suffering conservative, right-wing Europeans have completely forgotten the bloody terrors, genocides and Holocausts that Europe unleashed throughout the world on innocent people for instance, African slavery, the wipe-out of Aztecs and Incas and blatant and shameless colonial exploitation of Africa that continues to date and all in their own land to boot.
If we are going to talk about freedom, human rights and democracy, let’s apply these high standards globally and retroactively since 1492 to the present. Common. Simple.”

No mas!

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Nicholas Githuku

Assistant Professor, African History at York College, CUNY
Nicholas Githuku is a Ph.D. holder in African Studies. His research interests include: War & Peace Studies in general; Conflict and Security and mediation in general and trends in the Great Lakes the Horn Regions of Africa; Memorialization of War; Development studies (Sub-Saharan Africa): Postcolonial/Contemporary Kenyan Politics; European History (1648 to 1900); First and Second World Wars; and Post-1989 Eastern Europe (Balkans) History.